CWN - As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his crackdown, assuming unprecedented powers through a state of emergency and suspending adherence to a human rights treaty, one of the nation’s bishops said that Catholics are safe because they stay out of politics.

“All the current difficulties are linked to political events, and we don’t touch such issues or take any part in demonstrations,” Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez told Catholic News Service. “Thanks to this, our Church’s members are safe.”

In April, the 63-year-old Franciscan, who hails from Mexico and ministered in El Paso, Rome, and Turkey, was named the Latin-rite apostolic vicar of Istanbul and apostolic administrator of the nation’s Greek Catholics. A curial prelate, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, ordained him a bishop on June 11.

“Of course, we’re not happy about what’s happened, but we’ll continue to encourage and support our faithful,” Bishop Tierrablanca added. “We hope the situation will improve without bringing us further troubles, but there are problems here which can’t be tackled in a short time.”

Turkey is 99.8% Sunni Muslim, and only 47,000 of the nation’s 75 million people are Catholic.

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Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Resurrection

Christ is risen from the dead * trampling down Death by death, * and upon those in the tombs bestowing life! (Troparion)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Although You descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, * You destroyed the power of Hades; * You arose as the victor, O Christ God, * proclaiming to the myrrh-bearing women: “Rejoice!” * And granting peace to Your Apostles, * O, You, Who gives resurrection to the fallen. (Kontakion)

Random Proverb

"Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you." (Proverbs 3:28 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

For Christians above all men are forbidden to correct the stumblings of sinners by force...it is necessary to make a man better not by force but by persuasion. We neither have autority granted us by law to restrain sinners, nor, if it were, should we know how to use it, since God gives the crown to those who are kept from evil, not by force, but by choice.

St. John Chrysostom